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The Unknown and Impossible
Daily Press

The Unknown and Impossible

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What was it like to land on the moon?

"Like Langley," Neil Armstrong replied.

The first man to walk on the moon trained for his mission at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, as had so many before him. This is the laboratory where America's space program was launched, and where its pioneering work helped change the course of military and commercial aviation. Today, it is taking aim at Mars.

For a century, the men and women of Langley—first as the NACA, and later as part of NASA—have been conquering the unknown and achieving the impossible.

This book takes a look at the beginning of this research facility in 1917, at first part of Langley Field, then becoming the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, with only a few dozen employees. NACA Langley became the place to know about aeronautics, building wind tunnels, adding talent and soon hosting the top names of aviation including Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. After the launch of Sputnik, everything changed and NACA became NASA. Langley Research Center was tasked with the mission of sending men into orbit, heading up Project Mercury, where Hampton, Virginia, was home to the Mercury 7 and the Space Task Group.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and dozens of other astronauts trained at Langley. Langley engineers helped design the space shuttle. Engineers from Langley led Viking, taking the first photos of Mars in the 1970s.

Picturing Innovation: The First 100 Years at NASA Langley opened at the Chrysler Museum of Art in October, 2017.